Hi so I like the idea of doing simple 3D in illustrator, but I hate black shadows- is there really no way to have a colored shadow? You might think it would be in the lighting but you'd be wrong. Can you imagine how much better an orange shadow would be on a yellow object? Without this feature all the 3D is going to look like 1990s 3D.
I am not aware you can change the shadow color, but there is a Share Feedback option at the bottom of the 3D and Materials panel...
Shadow is generated by raytracing and raytracing traces light rays. SO you have to set up the lighting in a way that it generates the shadows you need.
You can of course have orange shadows (I have made this using 3D & materials):
oh thank you- do you know any tutorials that would cover this?
No, I don't know tutorials about this (which of course doesn't mean that there aren't any).
Since it's based on actual 3D rendering, you have to adjust your workflows. In nature any color in shadows is either bounce light from the surfaces surrounding the shadow or direct light from another source while the light from the source producing the shadow is being blocked, if only partially. Ergo you have to crank up the reflective and emissive properties of materials and add more light sources. That said, Substance 3D has ways of coloring shadows with shadow matte materials and color remap nodes, so Adobe just need to make these functions available in future versions of all their other programs.
Thank you! Very limited 3D awareness here. So it's true you couldn't make something with current Illustrator tools? What 3D program would you recommend for a lettering person- I've dabbled with Spline, Blender (but I'm pretty out of my depth there) and was looking into this since it's easy- but I hate black shadows!
3D is generally not simple, but these days ultimately what program you use doesn't really matter that much. Unfortunately for you the simple "3D extruded text" tools that existed en masse in the 1990s and early 2000s have all died out and been overtaken by full 3D programs. Within the Adobe world you could of course try Substance Stager:
and of course you can creatively use Cinema 4D Lite as it comes with After Effects. Still, you have to learn a few things one way or another so perhaps there might be soem wisdom in setting aside the time to learn a bit of Blender, after all. Delving into the Substance 3D tools might also be worth it, as there's always the prospect of more of their functions getting added to Illustrator and Photoshop.